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Combat Story

Nov 26, 2022

Today we hear the Combat Story of a long-time Night Stalker from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), Steve Lapping. Steve participated in multiple high-profile operations that many of us have heard of like the Jessica Lynch rescue and the Saddam Hussein capture, and many operations we have not like Objectives REINDEER and LEADVILLE.

This was a special interview for me as you can imagine given Steve’s storied background as an elite pilot, spending over two decades in 160th. We also touch on some of the heartbreak that comes with years in the cockpit with accidents, shootdowns, and crashes, including the feeling in SOAR following Operation GOTHIC SERPENT (aka Blackhawk Down).

Steve is one of the most humble individuals you’re going to encounter. In fact, I had to dig to figure out that Steve was a CW5, which is a very difficult rank to reach and to learn about his awards and decorations in combat.

I hope you enjoy this Combat Story from inside one of the most lethal cockpits from such a humble warrior as much as I did.

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  • - Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle

Show Notes: 

  • 0:00 - Intro 
  • 0:45 - Guest Introduction (Steve Lapping)
  • 2:02 - Interview Begins 
  • 5:10 -  First time flying with the W5 as a Junior Warrant
  • 6:53 -  Story of jumping into cold water at a young age
  • 11:32 - Fascination with military at an early age and an interest in aviation 
  • 17:30 -  Starting as a Warrant Officer 
  • and no regrets
  • 19:27 - First aircraft after training 
  • 25:35 - Path to 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) and the assessment process 
  • 35:10 - Becoming a PIC (Pilot in command) in 6-7 months.
  • 39:24 -  Getting accepted into the 160th and events at the time 
  • 42:07 - Green Platoon assessment and selection course to become  Night Stalker 
  • 46:16 - Flying MH vs AH personalities 
  • and mission profiles 
  • 49:44 - Mindset first time in combat after a 15-17 year career already 
  • 55:48 - Morale after Black Hawk Down 
  • 58:05 - Earning first combat patch in Afghanistan and invading Iraq with tough calls and tough weather 
  • 1:11:26 - Combat Story - Objective REINDEER and DFC event 
  • 1:21:19 - Combat Story - Objective LEADVILLE  
  • 1:48:02 - Combat Story - Challenging Day Missions and engaging the wrong vehicle 
  • 1:52:36 - Reflecting on anniversaries and working with veterans 
  • 1:54:49 - What did you carry into combat? 
  • 1:56:06 - Would you do it all again?
  • 1:58:20 -  Listener comments and shout outs 


This video covers the following subjects:


- 160th SOAR Night Stalker

- AH-6 & MH-6 Pilot


-160th SOAR 

- Silver Star

- CW5 Steve Lapping


The President of the United States of America, authorized by an Act of Congress on July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Chief Warrant Officer Five Steven A. Lapping, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an armed hostile force while serving as Pilot of an AH-6 Helicopter with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), while operating against an entrenched enemy force during a daylight raid in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. 


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